• Hand sanitizer sales have skyrocketed in the wake of the coronavirus, but some hand sanitizer brands have proven to be dangerous.
  • The FDA has identified nearly 170 hand sanitizer brands from Mexico that contain methanol, a toxic substance that can cause a range of serious health issues when absorbed through the skin.
  • Other hand sanitizer brands have been found to contain 1-propanol, a toxic and potentially life-threatening substance.

With the coronavirus pandemic still raging on, the last thing anyone needs is to worry about whether or not a bottle of hand sanitizer might cause a serious medical condition. While it admittedly sounds bizarre, the FDA over the past few months has banned nearly 170 hand sanitizer brands due to the presence of methanol. Also known as wood alcohol, methanol can be toxic when absorbed through the skin and has been associated with seizures, permanent blindness, and vomiting. There have even been tragic instances where children have died after ingesting methanol-based hand sanitizers.

The FDA issued the following warning earlier this summer:

Consumers who have been exposed to hand sanitizer containing methanol should seek immediate treatment, which is critical for potential reversal of toxic effects of methanol poisoning. Substantial methanol exposure can result in nausea, vomiting, headache, blurred vision, permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system or death. Although all persons using these products on their hands are at risk, young children who accidentally ingest these products and adolescents and adults who drink these products as an alcohol (ethanol) substitute, are most at risk for methanol poisoning.

Most brands with methanol are manufactured in Mexico, a fact which should make them easy to identify on the off-chance you happen to see one on a shelf. What’s more, the FDA cautions consumers to only purchase hand sanitizer brands that explicitly mention that they contain at least 60% ethyl alcohol.

Compounding matters is that the FDA last week announced that some hand sanitizer brands contain 1-propanol but don’t mention it on the label. This is equally problematic, with the FDA last week noting that 1-propanol “can be toxic and life-threatening when ingested.”

The FDA adds:

Young children who accidentally ingest these products and adolescents and adults who drink these products as an alcohol (ethanol) substitute are most at risk. Ingesting 1-propanol can cause central nervous system (CNS) depression, which can result in death. Symptoms of 1-propanol exposure can include confusion, decreased consciousness, and slowed pulse and breathing. Animal studies indicate that the central nervous system depressant effects of 1-propanol are 2 to 4 times as potent as alcohol (ethanol). Consumers who have been exposed to hand sanitizer containing 1-propanol and are experiencing symptoms should seek immediate care for treatment of toxic effects of 1-propanol poisoning. Skin or eye exposure to 1-propanol can result in irritation, and rare cases of allergic skin reactions have been reported.

So now we have two hand sanitizer substances to avoid, one of which isn’t even visible on the label. Thankfully, the FDA has done a solid job of compiling an ongoing list of hand sanitizer brands to avoid. Further, some companies have even started recalling their own products in light of the FDA’s warnings. Case in point: the FDA this week highlights that the Mexico-based Asiaticon SA de CV voluntarily decided to recall three of their hand sanitizer products:

Mexico City, Mexico, Asiaticon SA de CV (Mexico) is voluntarily recalling all lots of V-Klean Hand Sanitizer Gel, Medically Minded Hand Sanitizer Gel and Protz Real Protection Antibacterial Hand Sanitizer sold in 13.5, 16.9 and 33.8 ounce bottles to the consumer level. The products are being recalled due to the potential presence of methanol (wood alcohol) and subpotent ethanol levels.

There are now nearly 170 hand sanitizer brands consumers should make a point to avoid, a list which includes the following:

  • Protz Real Protection Antibacterial Hand Sanitizer
  • Medically Minded Hand Sanitizer Gel
  • V-Klean Hand Sanitizer Gel
  • Biokaab Inc. dgreen Advanced Sanitizer Alcohol Free
  • Open Book Extracts’ Always Be Clean Hand Sanitizer and Just Hand Sanitizer Single Use Packs
  • In Good Hands Hand Sanitizer Gel
  • UltraCruz Antimicrobial Hand Sanitizing Gel
  • SkinGuard24 All-Day Hand Sanitizer
  • O.K. Pharmacy Hand Sanitizer
  • Volu-Sol Handrub Sanitizing Solution
  • Blumen Clear Advanced Hand Sanitizer with 70% Alcohol
  • Blumen Advanced Instant Hand Sanitizer Clear Ethyl Alcohol 70%
  • BLUMEN Advanced Instant Hand Sanitizer Clear
  • KLAR AND DANVER Instant Hand Sanitizer
  • MODESA Instant Hand Sanitizer Moisturizers and Vitamin E
  • BLUMEN Advanced Hand Sanitizer
  • BLUMEN Advanced Hand Sanitizer Aloe
  • BLUMEN Advanced Instant Hand Sanitizer Lavender
  • BLUMEN Clear Advanced Hand Sanitizer
  • BLUMEN Clear LEAR Advanced Hand Sanitizer
  • BLUMEN Advanced Hand Sanitizer Clear
  • BLUMEN Clear Advanced Instant Hand Sanitizer
  • BLUMEN Clear Advanced Instant Hand Sanitizer Aloe
  • BLUMEN Clear Advanced Instant Hand Sanitizer Lavender
  • BLUMEN Aloe Advanced Hand Sanitizer, with 70 Alcohol
  • Blumen Advanced Hand Sanitizer Lavender, with 70% alcohol
  • Blumen Advanced Hand Sanitizer Aloe, with 70% alcohol
  • Blumen Antibacterial Fresh Citrus Hand Sanitizer
  • Blumen Hand Sanitizer Fresh Citrus
  • KLAR and DANVER Instant Hand Sanitizer
  • The Honeykeeper Hand Sanitizer
  • Hello Kitty Hand Sanitizer
  • Assured Instant Hand Sanitizer (Vitamin E and Aloe)
  • Assured Instant Hand Sanitizer (Aloe and Moisturizers)
  • Assured Instant Hand Sanitizer Vitamin E and Aloe
  • Assured Instant Hand Sanitizer Aloe and Moisturizers
  • BLUMEN Instant Hand Sanitizer Fragrance Free
  • BLUMEN Instant Hand Sanitizer Aloe Vera
  • 4E Global SAPI de CV’s Assured Aloe
  • bio aaa Advance Hand Sanitizer
  • LumiSkin Advance Hand Sanitizer 4 oz
  • LumiSkin Advance Hand Sanitizer 16 oz
  • QualitaMed Hand Sanitizer
  • NEXT Hand Sanitizer
  • Clear Advanced Hand Sanitizer with 70% Alcohol extra soft with glycerin and aloe
  • NuuxSan Instant Antibacterial Hand Sanitizer
  • NuuxSan Instant Hand Sanitizer
  • Assured Instant Antiseptic Hand Sanitizer with Aloe and Moisturizers
  • Assured Instant Antiseptic Hand Sanitizer with Vitamin E and Aloe
  • Modesa Instant Antiseptic Hand Sanitizer with Moisturizers and Aloe Vera
  • Modesa Instant Antiseptic Hand Sanitizer with Moisturizers and Vitamin E
  • Herbacil Antiseptic Hand Sanitizer 70% Alcohol
  • Earths Amenities Instant Unscented Hand Sanitizer with Aloe Vera Advanced
  • Agavespa Skincare’s Hand Sanitizer
  • Vidanos Easy Cleaning Rentals Hand Sanitizer Agavespa Skincare
  • Eskobiochem’s All-Clean Hand Sanitizer
  • Esk Biochem Hand Sanitizer
  • Lavar 70 Gel Hand Sanitizer
  • The Good Gel Antibacterial Gel Hand Sanitizer
  • CleanCare NoGerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer (with either 75% or 80% Alcohol)
  • Saniderm Advanced Hand Sanitizer
  • Grupo Insoma’s Hand Sanitizer Gel Unscented 70% Alcohol
  • Medicare Alcohol Antiseptic Topical Solution
  • GelBact Hand Sanitizer
  • Hand Sanitizer
  • TriCleanz
  • Sayab Antisepctic Hand Sanitizer 100
  • Jaloma Antiseptic Hand Sanitizer Ethyl Alcohol 62% with Vitamin E
  • Leiper’s Fork Distillery Bulk Disinfectant per 5 gallon and Leiper’s Fork Distillery
  • Andy’s Best
  • Andy’s
  • NeoNatural
  • Plus Advanced
  • Optimus Instant Hand Sanitizer
  • Optimus Lubricants Instant Hand Sanitizer
  • Optimus Instant Hand Sanitizer
  • Selecto Hand Sanitizer
  • Shine and Clean Hand Sanitizer
  • Hand Sanitizer Disinfectant Gel 70% Ethyl Alcohol
  • Hand Sanitizer Disinfectant Gel 70% Ethyl Alcohol Rinse Free Hand Rub
  • Mystic Shield Protection hand sanitizer
  • Born Basic. Anti-Bac Hand Sanitizer (with either 65% or 70% alcohol)
  • Scent Theory — Keep It Clean — Pure Clean Anti-bacterial Hand Sanitizer
  • Cavalry
  • ENLIVEN Hand Sanitizing Gel
  • Lux Eoi Hand Sanitizing Gel
  • Scent Theory — Keep It Clean — Pure Clean Anti-bacterial Hand Sanitizer
  • Bersih Hand Sanitizer Gel Fragrance Free
  • Bersih Antiseptic Alcohol 70% Topical Solution hand sanitizer
  • Purity Advanced Hand Sanitizer
  • Hand Sanitizer Gel Alcohol 70%
  • TriCleanz Tritanium Labs Hand Sanitizer
  • Britz Hand Sanitizer Ethyl Alcohol 70%
  • Parabola Hand Sanitizer
  • Urbane Bath and Body Hand Sanitizer
  • Cleaner Hand Sanitizer Rinse Free 70%
  • Handzer Hand Sanitizer Rinse Free
  • Kleanz Antibacterial Hand Sanitizer Advanced
  • Be Safe Hand Sanitizer
  • Wave Hand Sanitizer Gel
  • DAESI Hand Sanitizer
  • Alcohol Antiseptic 75% Topical Solution Hand Sanitizer
  • M Hand Sanitizer Alcohol Antiseptic
  • Jalisco Paper Inc Restaurant Supplies Hand Sanitizer
  • Hand Sanitizer Alcohol Antiseptic Topical Solution 80%
  • BV BYE Virus 99
  • Leafree Instant Hand Sanitizer
  • CleanCare Nogerm Advanced Hand Sanitizer
  • V-KLEAN Hand Sanitizer Gel
  • Derma70 Hand Sanitizer
A life long Mac user and Apple enthusiast, Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large for over 6 years. His writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and most recently, TUAW. When not writing about and analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions, the most recent examples being The Walking Dead and Broad City.